Does a police advisory council have any business in the medical marijuana debate? [UPDATE]

Categories: Crime, Marijuana
PotRX.jpg
trawin / flickr
-- Updated at bottom with comment from Dodge County Sheriff Jim Jensen --

Last month, the Violent Crimes Coordinating Council did something odd.

Members decided to make their "strong opposition" to medical marijuana known by sending a letter to the bill's chief legislative proponents, including State Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-6A). It asserted that the chronic pain of individuals did not outweigh the interests of public safety.

SEE ALSO: Medical marijuana expert met privately with MN policymakers to discuss legalization

In response, Melin solicited the nonpartisan House Research Department for background information on the VCCC. She asked specifically about whether the council had the authority to issue opinions on pending legislation.

CarlyMelin.jpg
State Rep. Carly Melin
In other words: Does the council have any business being in the legislative debate over medical marijuana? The House Research Department concluded that it probably does not.

You may not know the VCCC, but chances are you've heard of its predecessors -- the Gang and Drug Oversight Council, and the disgraced Metro Gang Strike Force. Those were the guys who had trouble explaining how seized property -- $18,000 in cash, 13 vehicles, and a flat-screen TV -- went missing on their watch.

The task force was eventually dismantled. And in 2010 came the VCCC with new rules and oversights, part of which restricted members from making formal comments on anything other than the investigation and prosecution of gang and drug activity. They were tasked with developing strategies to lessen the harm caused by gangs and drugs.

But the responsibility of advising legislators falls on the commissioner of public safety -- a point Melin fired back at the VCCC in a letter of her own.

State Rep. Michael Paymar, the chairman of the public safety finance and policy committee who oversaw the creation of the VCCC, understands Melin's frustration.

"It was never the intent to create an oversight committee that would debate public policy and make recommendations to the legislature," he says. However, "there's nothing that says they can't."

These last few words were echoed by Dodge County Sheriff Jim Jensen, chair of the VCCC, though he declined to comment on whether his council had overstepped its boundaries, if not legally then at least in spirit.

"We discussed that," Jensen says, "and we didn't feel that needs to be commented on."

However, the sheriff did say he considers the council's job to be advising the public on potential threats.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com

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71 comments
BrandanBorgos
BrandanBorgos

@citypages Are the police doctors or patients? No? By their "expertise" in criminalizing the aforementioned, you could have fooled me.

tribune420
tribune420

The cops motive is money, nothing more, nothing less.  They couldn't care less if their arguments are logical or not, they just want more MONEY!

Alirox
Alirox

"37 people OD'd on the first day of legalization of geef in Colorado!!!!" -- some dumb pig.

Doug Mulville
Doug Mulville

Funny how the media and the general public just let that slide after a few days.... MURDERERS

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Former Minnesotan here.


We had the same bullshit coming from the same bullshitters 3 years ago when MMJ was legalized in Arizona.

None of the "Doom and Gloom"  the naysayers predicted has come true. No increase in use by teenagers, no increase in crime where the dispensaries are located.

The only thing that happened is that people now have access to a medication that, for many, is as, or more, effective than the poisons the drug companies push and is one hell of a lot safer.



P.S.------it's going to be 80 and sunny today ; )

Jake Handegard
Jake Handegard

Btw Minnesota is decriminalized... the discussion is legalization for medical purposes. Decriminalization is still illegal on all fronts except the penalties for having it are far less than if it were not decriminalized.

Rick Miller
Rick Miller

I don't go to my doctor to get law enforcement advice. Police opinions on the usefulness of medical marijuana should be of no concern

Geoff Pursell
Geoff Pursell

I hear this argument often, but it would be really simple to put replacement funding in any medical MJ bill. It's not rocket science. I think they just have a wicked case of selection bias. Imagine if your only experience with pot smokers were those that ended up in the criminal justice system.

Brandi Stillings
Brandi Stillings

I think that living in a state with such high anxiety, due to weather mostly, that this would be a great way to reduce overall stress and anger in most. The crime rate would certainly decrease and the city would make a ton of money on the taxes alone, allowing them to not run out of a budget for winter emergencies!

Ted Cheney
Ted Cheney

Unfortunately, its an election year for Dayton and a lot of the house, so none of them would dare risk doing anything that would piss off the police unions. Double unfortunately, the police hold enough political power that the politicians will let them decide state medical policy.

greenthinks
greenthinks

Just say some attorney is a silent partner in a  liquor establishment. He supposedly represents people injured under the states dram shop laws but isnt it against his own interests to strengthen that same law making bar owners more liable  or the insurance more expensive. What if a whole bunch of lawyers own interests in liquor establishments. They get the word to let a case lose  it loses.. That is how case law is made and developed. But if an industry or two are mobbed up I.E. law  and alcohol  then what happens to the victims interests. Pretty sneaky ! Alot of power built up over the decades.

Osiris Sgk
Osiris Sgk

fuck the police, we smoke it like its legal.

Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane

Absolutely not. Asking a police officer to weigh in on the medical benefits of marijuana is like me asking my doctor to weigh in on which tires are better for winter driving. But my doctor won't be financially affected by which tire I buy, since he has no vested financial interest in the end result... While on the other hand...

Mikey O'Garbage
Mikey O'Garbage

Sure, as long as I as a stoner get to have advisory ability over policy policy. Like that's ever going to happen .Let's ask the sheep if they mind the wolves having gate keeping duties at the pen?

Justin Irvine
Justin Irvine

yes due to they have to enforce the rule changes and bad legislation can make it hard to enforce. I say just legalize it completely tax the shit out of it and collect the revenue from cheetos and weed.

greenthinks
greenthinks

Plus thats where all the payola money comes from untraceable drug money . Who brings that in I wonder. You think all those state judges  and legislators are going to want to give that money train up? Thats why we need initiative and referendum in this state which has been previously  voted down and kept from the people.


greenthinks
greenthinks

It is the jewish dominated ( liquor ) industry that opposes legalization. Notice how Dayton is all for expanding sunday liquor sales. Why are both our Senators Jewish?  This historically Meyer Lanskys personal territoty. It is so infested with organized crime that ... it is kept quiet but a well known fact. that Hennipen country is the most corrupt court system in the country . The whole country is aware of this except here because the news organizations are long ago corrupted also.Strip joiunt whorehouses all over downtown   gee guess who owns these places Gambling over runs the whole state legal and illegal. 


greenthinks
greenthinks

For Dayton to have to ask the police for the o.k. to sign a bill....is the very definition 

of a police state.!

Dan Reis
Dan Reis

The disinformation coming from law enforcement is criminal.

alsdkfj
alsdkfj

Yes, because it means more jobs for them. You don't need tons of cops to lock people up if they aren't always doing something illegal. Best way to make sure they're still engaged in illicit activity is to make/keep more things illegal. Police unions are interested in one things only, their own paychecks. 

Toni James
Toni James

This is BULLSHIT and if you wanna know how I really feel..............

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81

The only reason violence can be attributed to marijuana is because it is exchanged on the black market and people in the black market are not always the best of characters. Legalize it without taxing it to death and allow sellers to use banks to store money and you won't have any violent marijuana robberies anymore. The VCCC definitely doesn't want that to happen though or they can't maintain their current level of violence on the community. I hope the POS former head of the gang squad is enjoying his prison time after punching that guy at Tanner's in Andover. lol

bustdamatrix
bustdamatrix

"This time around, Governor Mark Dayton (D) says he'd sign the bill -- but not without the support of Minnesota law enforcement agencies" It is amazing that Dayton can even tie his own shoes, what a logic fail. Let's depend on the cops that have major economic interest in keeping pot criminalized. He is no better then the cartels and drug dealers, I would prefer them over this douchbag.

Tom Shyman
Tom Shyman

I know 3 T.C. cops that smoke marijuana to unwind from their day. One of them even told me, "Worst thing that happened, when I caught someone with it, was they complained I took their Doritos. Alcohol is SO MUCH worse!" Of course, none of them have any hear-say in this. The state will make over $500 million in one stinking year, if they legalized. However, it seems MN is run by the State Sheriff, because Mark Dayton is freakin' puppet. He believes his own demons in his life is what we all have as well. It's so twisted (and not in a good way) that makes me kinda sad. Sad, for I was a Wellstone kid, and proud to say I was from "a smart, educated and liberal state.", and can't say that anymore, because the now going backward sense of direction. Bachmann being the coffin nail. Shame it turned out this way.

Kyle Haze
Kyle Haze

You would think that they would avoid any spotlight, involving pot- especially after they smoked up those Occupy Wall street protestors.

Robert Hilstrom
Robert Hilstrom

Ask them why they had to shoot and kill two people armed with one knife on Hwy 212 recently...

Molly Cathryn Glover
Molly Cathryn Glover

I didn't realize marijuana possession was considered a "violent crime" even with its current state of illegality. Oh wait, it's not. So why does the VCCC's opinion matter? Oh wait, it doesn't.

Nick Glover
Nick Glover

That depends, did the police suddenly become medical professionals?

ethernot
ethernot

@shadeaux14  Not to mention over a decade in California, with a likewise non-apocalyptic outcome …  In fact, by several metrics--highway fatalities, for one--things are actually better!  Who would have thunk it, right?!

(Going to rain here, thank the flying spaghetti monster…)

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@greenthinks  you think Henn county is the most corrupt in the nation? are you fucking stupid? Ever heard of cook county, clark county, hudson county


geez, all you sound like is some anti semite 


very un-green

greenthinks
greenthinks

@digitalprotocol @greenthinks  Just the facts . No Nazi references needed or intended. Ziggy Wilfs welfare for the stadium is another example. Steamroll over everybody no vote on it he wont disclose but needs hundreds of millions of public money some phony trumped up excuse that electronic pulltabs to pay for it. haha give me a break more gambling.    Dayton is his obvious lapdog. Cook county  Chiocago  was cleaned up in the 1970's in the Greylord investigation At least you hear about that county.Hennipen is so loused up you will never hear boo about it. . And oh I know all that corruption in the liquor industry you know when all the liquor licenses in Minneapolis were Jewish owned sure that all happened a long time right. It certainly ended sometime. Would you care to tell me when and how all that supposedly ended? snicker. Filthy fucking court system all the way to the top the whole state is corrupted. Organized crime is doing very very well in Minnesota and it is certainly a grey area between corporations and organized crime. I wonder who gets all the work,  where the materials are bought from , the concessions   so on so forth for that new stadium?


digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@greenthinks jews controlling liquor does not equal most corrupt county in nation. 


i dont ever buy liquor, do the same

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